The need for Hong Kong to further legislate against more national security offences under Article 23 of the Basic Law was once again made clear by mainland officials two months ago in a symposium marking the anniversary of the enactment of the national security legislation by Beijing. The question is when and how to get the job done. The government of Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor appears to be gearing up for the challenge, though the bill will not be put on the legislative agenda until a new administration and legislature are in place. Until more details are available, it will be difficult to assess its impact, but the principles are clear. It is the city’s constitutional duty to enact the law, and the community must be thoroughly consulted. With the implementation of the national security law in full swing, security minister Chris Tang Ping-keung is probably not wrong in saying that there will be less of a backlash now than in 2003 , when the controversial Article 23 legislation was shelved following strong opposition from the public. But he should not underestimate the challenges ahead. Even though prevailing sociopolitical sentiments are different than 18 years ago, strong resistance remains in some areas of society. National security: what is Article 23 and why is it back in the spotlight? Article 23 stipulates Hong Kong shall enact laws in seven areas, including treason, secession, sedition, subversion, theft of state secrets, foreign political organisations conducting political activities in the city as well as local groups establishing ties with foreign political bodies. Separately, the national security law targets four major offences, namely subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with external forces. Whether the 2003 blueprint will be dusted off for use remains to be seen. But Tang has already warned that it will require heavy editing to address the situation following the social unrest of 2019. He highlighted the need to target foreign“state-level organisations” behind what he described as a “colour revolution”, saying the current law does not regulate such activities. The Basic Law gives the city a constitutional duty to protect national security. How this will be tackled in the Article 23 legislation will be of serious concern to both local and foreign communities. Unlike the law imposed by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee last year, Article 23 legislation will be enacted by the city government on its own. This should provide ample opportunity for proper public engagement, in particular with stakeholders. The undertaking that the legislation will be passed after such consultation during the next term of the Legislative Council can help address any concerns that may arise. It is in the city’s best interests to get the right law in place this time.